Alzheimers NZ wants government to adopt a two-tier strategy to improve post diagnostic support for people living with dementia.
Chair Ngaire Dixon unveiled the organisation’s proposals at its annual conference in Wellington today.
“There is a dementia tidal wave looming as our population ages and we desperately need better care and support for people with dementia, and better care and support for their carers,” Ms Dixon said.
“Obviously this needs additional government funding, but that should be seen as an investment.”
She said Alzheimer’s New Zealand’s proposals would have a three-fold impact.
They would increase the quality of life for people with dementia, and that of their carers, and increase the length of time that people with dementia can live in their homes before entering long term care.
Government would also benefit due to a reduction in the costs of providing long-term care for people with the condition and because there’d be few unnecessary hospital admissions that arise from the need for crisis intervention.
Dementia is one of the most significant, and growing, healthcare challenges in NZ and globally.
There are some 60,000 Kiwis with dementia and the condition costs the country over $1 billion a year. Half of those who have the condition will probably not have been diagnosed and therefore will not be getting appropriate care and support.
The number of people with dementia is expected to triple in the next 25 years.
“But far more important than the financial cost is the human cost,” Ms Dixon said.
“This conference is all about how we manage that as effectively as possible and how we ensure people with dementia can continue to live productive, dignified lives in which they have a central role in making the decisions that will affect them.
“This conference is about how we ensure people with dementia, and their carers, get the support they need, when and how they need it.”
Alzheimers NZ wants 12 months of guaranteed post diagnostic support for each person diagnosed with dementia. That’s about 14,000 people each year.
The money would go towards a raft of initiatives, chief among them providing better in-home care and support and information services.
The organization also wants the government to implement the Navigator role as a priority. This is a designated person in the care team for a person with dementia and is their first point of contact. The Navigator role is already part of government policy; government has not yet implemented it.
Alzheimers NZ’s proposals will
Government would also enjoy:
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